People say that God is never late. I say that He sure seems slow sometimes.
Why doesn’t He answer your prayers to bring you someone to share your life with or someplace to call home? The medical breakthrough that could bring you a new lease on life or the help you need when you’ve been biting off more than you can chew?
When is He going to show up with the answer you need or the money you owe? Or to fix what’s wrong in the church or avenge the one who wronged you in your family?
Where is He when your daughter’s fighting cancer or you’re fumbling your career? When you’re at the end of your rope or the beginning of a terrifying storm?
Sometimes God seems so unbelievably silent. This seems especially true in the storms of our life.
Are you in a storm of some kind? It seems we all are right now, but perhaps you have a storm within a storm.
I’m here to help you not to forget to remember.
We tend to do that in times of downpour. The disciples did. One day Jesus got into a boat with them and said He wanted to go to the other side of a lake. Then, He fell asleep. That’s when a windstorm came down on them. It must have been a whopper because the boat began to take on water. What started out as a merry version of Row, Row, Row Your Boat turned into the theme song for Titanic.
And Jesus slept right through it.
He was so very...silent!
The seasoned fishermen shook. You better believe they woke the weary Teacher up. "Jesus, we’re dying! Don’t you care?"
He did care, and He told the wind and the raging waves so.
Then, He turned His attention back to the guys in the boat. He had something to say to them too. There, in the calm of yet another miracle, He asks them: Where is your faith?
Not the most comforting thing to say to a few grown men who’d probably just lost their lunch about the time they lost their cool. But Jesus doesn’t stroke their egos, as we are prone to do. Instead, He cuts to the chase, essentially asking, Did you forget Who I Am? Did you forget Who is with you?
They had, in fact, forgotten Who was with them. In spite of all the amazing things they had been witness to, the men cowered when a storm brewed.
Can you identify?
If so, the prophet Habakkuk is just the tutor we both need. Oh, at the beginning of his three-chapter book, he doesn’t seem to be. In fact, he’s dreadfully afraid of the future and seems to be the poster child for doubt, fear, and questioning God. He has a big case of spiritual amnesia. But by the end of the book, his memory kicks in and he becomes a shining example of how the righteous live by faith. And so much of faith has to do with remembering.
verb. Have in or be able to bring to one’s mind an awareness of (someone or something that has seen, known, or experienced in the past).
I once heard that to remember is “to put back what is dismembered.” Much as you would reattach a limb if it were tragically lost, hopelessness requires us to re-member what’s been missing in our minds and souls. We’re invited to put our faith back where it belongs.
Oh, if only God offered us immediate results for our prayer requests and did not make us dust off our patience, dig up some steadfast staying power, and muster up our joy! But He often takes us through monsoon seasons that require those very things of us. Often when we come out the other side, we see that God has used it to help us remember our faith.
When Jesus stilled the wind and raging waters that day on the lake for the fearful fishermen, He used it to invite them to remember what they’d lost for a moment. Luke records that the Savior asked them: Where is your faith?
He didn’t ask: Don’t you have any faith?
He knew they had it. I imagine Him asking them this in the same tone He might have asked them, Well, where were your raincoats? Don’t you think they could have been helpful in this situation?
This was just the prompting they needed to remember. They turned to one another and said, Who is this!? Even the winds and water obey him!
The question is not answered, but one is implied: God is with us!
Whatever “wind” and “water” you’re facing in your storm, I assure you this: God is with you. Even if you’ve forgotten to remember that.
If you’re having trouble remembering, I invite you to join me for a 6-week study of the book of Habakkuk. The book of Habakkuk is about learning to believe that God is good and maintains control even when there is so much evil and tragedy in the world around us. Though this book is often overlooked during times of peace and prosperity, it has tended to be studied when believers needed to learn how to talk to God during epic events.
When I began research for this Bible study, I could not have imagined the backdrop upon which it would be released. On my very last day of writing, I heard of a deadly novel coronavirus infecting people in China. Before we sent this book to the printer, the COVID-19 pandemic had imprinted the world. We need the lessons of Habakkuk always, but in an urgent and desperate way right now.
This blog is an excerpt from Dannah Gresh’s September 1st release: Habakkuk: Remembering God’s Faithfulness When He Seems Silent. The book is available early exclusively for those who register for our online summer Bible study.